Philadelphia weather tends to be coldest in January, and snow is always a possibility. As long as you are prepared with warm, layered clothing, it won’t hinder your ability to go out and have fun in our wonderful historic city. The arts and sports are celebrated in equal measure in the “City of Brotherly Love,” a nickname that comes from the Greek roots of the city’s name, adelphi (brother) and phila (love). The week of MW there will be activities to satisfy both art and sports interests.

Professional sports fanatics can catch the Philadelphia 76ers taking on the Phoenix Suns on the 27th or the Philadelphia Flyers winging pucks across the ice against the Deroit Red Wings on the 28th.

If you want to strap on your own pair of skates, there is a rink at The Piazza, The Piazza is in a hip and trendy area of town and also hosts a limited amount of boutique shopping, upscale, trendy eating, and local galleries. Read More →

Hello from your Mid-Winter Meeting Local Arrangements Committee!

Have you always wanted to go to Italy and see Pompeii but haven’t made it there yet?’  Well if you’re in Philadelphia for the Mid-Winter Meeting you’ll have your chance (with a much cheaper transportation ticket!)

One Day in Pompeii

From November through April (so right in time for Mid-Winter), The Franklin Institute is hosting a new exhibit called One Day in Pompeii.’  As someone who has recently been to Pompeii and the Naples Museum of Archaeology (which hosts all of the artifacts found in the city), I can testify that the exhibit at the FI is very well done and true to its roots.’  You’ll be astounded by the artifacts, not only for their beauty but for their modernity as well! Read More →

So you’ve registered for Midwinter Meeting 2013, and you’re looking forward to attending the meetings, walking the exhibit hall, and sightseeing in Seattle. Now it’s time to find a place to stay. Unless you live in the area or have friends or family in Seattle with a spare bedroom, you’re going to need to start thinking about accommodations.

Luckily ALA has already worked out special rates for 14 different hotels which are all fairly close to the Convention Center. You can peruse those hotels here‘  and’ learn about booking here.
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YALSA Midwinter Institute

The Whole Library Experience was the theme for the YALSA Midwinter Institute in San Diego. The morning got underway with Paige Battle’s ice-breaker activity. She asked participants to come and select adjectives on strips and then sort ourselves into two groups according to whether we thought the adjective described a teen or a librarian. Actually, a third group formed for those who thought their adjectives could describe either teen or librarian. There was quite a bit of laughter as we talked about the stereotypes both groups have.

Our first speaker was Linda Braun, former President of YALSA, who has just written a white paper on this topic of Whole Library Experiences for YAs. Her suggestions included not forgetting the parents of the teens, working with circulation and reference staff about the needs and interests of YAs. We who work with YAs need to be aware of “those who are not us” and how we can assist them in offering services and materials to teens. Read More →

Sherman Alexie recently appeared on The Colbert Report to talk about his new book War Dances and winning the National Book Award and somehow they got onto the topic of digital content.

Alexie commented that he does not want his books available digitally, citing the pirating problems the music industry encountered when they went digital and the fear that your reading habits could be spied on by others.’  Alexie lamented the loss of artistic ownership and personal connection in the digital world.’  He talked of a better time when he would visit a town on book tour and spend all day on radio shows, tv shows, in bookstores and libraries connecting personally and physically with his readers.’  Now he catches the afternoon matinee while he waits for his one scheduled event.

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For those who won’t be attending the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) will recreate the YALSA Mixer and Tech Playground in the 3-D virtual world, Second Life.

The exhibit includes 8 stations on twitter, handheld gaming, image editing and more.

This interactive exhibit, which runs Jan. 9 through Jan. 31, 2009, features models of some of the gadgets being featured at the special event, which kicks off YALSA’s Teen Tech Weekâ„¢ and will be held Jan. 23 at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 8 – 10 p.m. Gadgets are displayed on platforms at ALA Island (61, 228, 35). You may need to fly to see all the platforms! A menu with locations is in the large column at the entry point.

Each gadget featured in SL includes an informational notecard with tips on incorporating the item into Teen Tech Week events. Teen Tech Week is a national initiative sponsored by YALSA and aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults to ensure that teens are competent and ethical users of technologies, especially those that are offered through libraries such as DVDs, databases, audiobooks, and videogames. The 2009 theme for Teen Tech Week is Press Play @ your library’®. Teen Tech Week is March 8-14, 2009. Read More →

The YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group meeting on Monday afternoon welcomed nearly 20 attendees to attendees to discuss teens and gaming in libraries. After a quick review of the mission of the group, announcements followed:

Beyond Gaming Tournaments (Teen Gaming Interest Group)
Sunday June 29th 2008 8:00am to 10am
Discover best practices beyond gaming tournaments in such programs as avatar creation, character worksheets, video game clubs, machinima contests, Cosplay and more. Elizabeth Saxton, Cleveland Public Library; Craig Davis, Youth Digital Arts Cyber School and Amy McNally, Ridgedale Library, Minnetonka, MN, with teens Karina Grimaldi and Brigit Boler, share their successes in delivering high quality engaging programs about and around tabletop and video games – that do NOT involve actual game play! The second half of the program consists of a breakout session to try program activities and exercises yourself.

Go have lunch, then return at 1:30 PM for ALSC presents: Gaming and the Elementary Age Child. It seems we have the makings of an ALA gaming track here!

Teen Tech Week runs March 2-8th, this year’s theme is Tune in @ Your Library. A Gaming Mini-Guide should be posted on the Teen Tech Committee page soon

The Teen Gaming Interest Group recently completed an article for YALS on Core Collections of video games for libraries, an annotated list of recommended titles. Look for it in the spring issue, out soon. A poster with titles was available at the YALSA booth. Content is online.

For more info about gaming in libraries, join the LibGaming group.

ALA TechSource announced Sunday that they have received a Verizon Foundation Grant for 2008-2009. Part of the project includes a website to foster online community hosted by an expert panel at, featuring links to incubator sites for gaming and research. The grant will produce a virtual institute in April 208. The focus is to develop gaming literacy.

Watch for a follow -up issue of Library Technology Report on Gaming in Libraries. Other projects include a National Gaming in Libraries Day (April 18) (with national tournament), GT System from the Ann Arbor District Library, a Big Game at ALA annual 2008 in Anaheim, and the 2nd annual ALA TechSource Gaming Learning and Libraries Symposium (Nov 2008) in the Chicago area.

Other Big News! The Games and Gaming MIG at ALA passed on Tuesday.

Beth recommended that someone else champion a Selected Lists of Video Games for Teens, by requesting
YALSA Board action.

Part of the discussion involved a question about research needs in regard to gaming.
What is the theft/loss rate of circulating video game collections?
Are teens allowed to check out videos/video games?

Is there a relationship between policies and theft rate: circulation policies, like circ period and fine rate

Q. Money: how do I spend in? Wii or PS2?
A. Get both! ASk your local teens for advice.

Q. How do I get a Wii?
A. Contact Nintendo, go early to game stores, try, check eBay. Don’t forget to purchase extra controllers and the proper controllers (for retro gaming)

Q. What games should I buy for programs?
A.Guitar Hero

Wii Sports
Wii Play
Rayman Raving Rabbids #2
Mario & Sonic Olympics
Naruto II: Ultimate Ninja
DragonBall Z

Q. How do I store my console/prevent theft?
A. Gaming configurations include a locked cabinet or behind the desk

Q. How much will this cost?
A. Starting Budget: $1000 – for 1 system, 3-5 games, & extra controllers

Q. Do people still play D&D?

A. Yes! D&D fosters imagination, teaches storytelling, and develops creativity! And Wizards of the Coast, a Teen Tech Week sponsor, has a free kit D&D available to libraries! They are out of kits, but you can DOWNLOAD all the kit materials.

Q. Does anyone do Yu-gi-oh tournaments – no problems with card theft
A. Yes! Other recommended Card & Tabletop Games

Hex Hex
Taboo & Gestures (get noisy)
Apples to Apples (Junior edition)
Set Game
Scene It? Junior
Carcassone Hunters & Gatherers

Settlers of Kataan
500 different games around the kit/pieces

Two great board game resources:
Board Games with Scott

Gaming Interest Group list on the YALSA community page (log in with ALA membership # and password):

Q. Help! They won’t come to the library, even to play games!
A. Take the games to them! High school lunch, local game stores/card shops, advertise on

Q. Are there age issues with video games?
A. It’s a two program opportunity! One for kids, one for teens. Start with age 12 (gr 6) – don’t forget that a game rated T for teen are for age 13.

Q. What are the behavior issues associated with gaming programs?
A. Theft and fighting for a turn are not usually an issue. In fact, teens in gaming programs are the best behaved kids in the library, and often self-police to keep their gaming privileges.

Q. Is there a basic list of resources about gaming that I can use to make a case for for gaming at my library?

A. Yes! For your perusal:
Wilson, Heather. Gaming for Librarians. Voice of Youth Advocates. Feb 2005.

Neiburger, Eli and Erin Helmrich. Video Games As a Service.” Voice of Youth Advocates. Feb 2005.

Gallaway, Beth & Alissa Lauzon. “I Can’t Dance Without Arrows: DDR at the Library.” YALS. Summer 2006.

Gallaway, Beth. Get Your Game On: What Makes A Good Game, Anyway?

Beck, John & Mitchell Wade. The Kids are Alright. Harvard Business School, 2007.

Nicholson, Scott. (2007). The Role of Gaming in Libraries: Taking the Pulse. White paper.

Q. How do you deal with time limits on your Internet computers?
A. Start a program! IE Runescape Club

Q. Other Gaming Ideas?
A. Bronx Library System – poker tournament – tutorials and 5 card stud and 7 card Texas hold’em play with real chips, no money.

Reader’s Advisory – if you like this game, you might like this book
Family Gaming Night with board games – library provides some, patrons bring their own in
Open Gaming once a week, programs twice a month
Newbie Game Day
Teen Choice Free Play (they bring their own games)
Teen Second Life

Global Kids

Q. Do kids bring in their own laptops for gaming programs?
A. Sometimes! And it can add to the program, IE, all playing StepMania.

Q. Are there games for developmentally disabled/delayed?
A. Not that we are aware of, at this time…

Q. How do you handle signups for game programs?

Black crow darts has a great chart
Jeff Wyner, Escondido Public Library, has designed an excel spread sheet with formulas for
Eli Neiburger from Ann Arbor District Library will be unveiling their tournament management software in April 2008.

Q. What is the ESRB?
A. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board! Among other things, they rate video games on a set of 40+ criteria, for ‘age-appropriateness.’
Visit for more info.

Q. Suggestions for ways to clear up teens library cards?
A. Waivers, amnesty day, booksale fundraiser for fine scholarships, pay for fines via Teen Second Life

The exhibits are open and the 2008 nMidwinter meeting is well underway. Philly greeted us with unseasonably warm weather. While there were a few showers this morning and early this faternoon, the rain cleared up in time for attendees to obtain badges and enter the Exhibit Hall.

Today was also a day for committee meetings. As the deadline for the Youth Media Awards draws close, many of us are involved in discussions, fervent and impassioned, about the nominations for the committee members to consider.

As I got off the bus this evening, I met a fellow Texan. This is her first ALA and she was grinning from ear to ear. It is contagious, I think, this eagerness to see the “show” and to become more involved in our profession. Side conversations all day have centered on everyone’s best estimations of the books whose titles will be announced Monday at the awards presentation. The buzz is audible.

Have you filled out a volunteer form yet? Consider becoming more active in ALA and especially in YALSA. There are literally dozens of ways to contribute. Selection committees are only the tip of the iceberg. YALSA needs you!

Tomorrow YALSA’s leadership and all committee meetings will convene. If you are here, plan to come by and see how you can become a more active member of the YALSA team.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Imagine blue skies, sunshine, and spring-like weather. This is Philly in January? Yep, that is what today is shaping up to be here at the start of ALA Midwinter. Winter will return soon, but I plan to enjoy wwalking around a bit today to see the city. The last time I was here for ALA, I never had the chance to see much of this historic place. I vowed this year to take that extra day to see what is here besides the convention center.

After today, the work begins for me on the final stages of the Odyssey Committee. Our committee has many hours ahead of it as wel deliberate on this first award. Ditto for Printz and Edwards and ALEX, too. So, be sure to log on Monday to see the fruits of all this labor. You can join us on the web, have the winners texted to your cell phone, or read my blog.

Registration is now underway for annual. Hurry to reserve hotel space as they are going quickly.

Posted by Teri S. Lesesne

I must confess that with all the committee meetings and other events at Midwinter, I was unaware that yalsa-bk dropped from sight for a time. Imagine my surprise when I began to read all the posts from those worried that it had disappeared totally because of the conference. In any event, all is now well and the messages are flying back and forth with lightning speed.

I think this says a lot about how we depend on yalsa-bk as a learning community. The discussion about the lists and the awards has been brisk as always. As a (now) former committee member of QP and Edwards, it is interesting to see the “Monday morning quaterbacking” about the deliberations and decisions. Even on my own committee, not all the books I thought deserving were included. That is the nature of committee decisions. There is compromise; there are passionate disucssions. Sometimes what one member thinks is noteworthy is not deemed so by another.

Seattle was a wonderful host to the meeetings. Weather was clear and most days saw some sunshine if only through the windows of the meeting rooms. I hope folks will plan now to come to DC and celebrate all the winners.

Posted by Teri Lesesne